Where Did That Sound Come From?

They say that you can’t tell from which direction an underwater sound came. That’s not entirely true.

Why is it supposedly true? Because sound travels much faster and much farther underwater. 

Above water, sound reaches the ears at slightly different times. The brain uses this difference to determine direction. Underwater, however, sound reaches both ears at the same time. The brain, purportedly, cannot determine direction.

Also, visibility underwater is far less than visibility above water. Many of the sounds we hear underwater are out of visual range even if we happen to be looking in the correct direction.

In my experience, short sounds are mysterious. A dive instructor or dive guide bangs on his/her tank with a metal stick and I look like the Tazmanian Devil, spinning around until I visually detect the source.

The other day, however, I heard a boat. I looked up to my left, and saw it immediately.

So, while the brain cannot detect the source of short sounds, it seems it can figure out direction for prolonged sounds.

Or, maybe I have a superpower. Either way.

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